2013 Weather Year in Review 

       Weather in the Panhandles is always diverse, but this year it was a little less extreme than in the last few years. The year started out mostly quiet, with cooler and wet weather early in the month quickly becoming warmer and drier. A snowy and cold February followed, with 5 days of snow bringing a staggering, 2nd greatest February total of 25.6 inches of snow to Amarillo. Most of this snow came in a prolific blizzard that will be remembered by residents of the Panhandles for years to come. A total of 19.1 inches of snowfall and wind gusts up to 75 mph on the 24th and 25th combined to bring everything to a standstill around the city. Nearly every business was closed, and even the snowplows and rescue vehicles were stranded during the storm. The snow gave Amarillo a new record for single snowiest day in February (19.0 inches, Feb. 25), its third all-time snowiest event (19.1” total, Feb. 24-25), its 2nd snowiest February, and pushed the yearly total to 9th snowiest in 122 years of record-keeping.
      Cold and dry air lingered over the Panhandles, making for a dry and cool start to the year. The last spring freeze across the area came in early May and nearly set a record for latest freeze on record. Though drought had expanded and worsened across the Panhandles by May, a wet pattern set up for the Panhandles and would continue through late summer. Spring and summer thunderstorms brought beneficial rains, periodic street and river flooding, and the occasional round of severe weather. Amarillo was hit particularly hard by the May 28th hailstorm that pummeled the western and northern sides of town with hail to the size of baseballs. The storm, which had earlier produced two brief EF0 tornadoes in Deaf Smith County and a funnel cloud just west of Amarillo, ended up causing an estimated $500 million in damage to homes, cars, businesses, and farms as it passed through. This made it the 10th costliest storm in Texas history, according to the Insurance Council of Texas. The heavy runoff from the summer’s rain left all three Texas reservoirs with more water than they started the year and caused four river floods by summer’s end. The rain also eased the ongoing drought conditions across most of the Panhandles and all but eliminated it in the eastern Texas Panhandle.
      Only 10 days hit triple-digit temperatures this year, far less than the record 50 in 2011 and 24 in 2012. In fact it was only the 18th warmest summer, and 2 record low temperatures were even set in July. Weather during the fall and first part of winter became drier, with only 1.00 inch of precipitation and 6.5 inches of snow after September. Temperatures at the end of the year were cooler than normal, and Amarillo’s first freeze arrived the morning of October 18th. There was no white Christmas this year, but perhaps the Panhandles had seen enough snow earlier in the year. With sunny skies and a high near 60 degrees, a warm and quiet day closed another year of exciting weather in the Panhandles.
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YEAR 2013 SUMMARY FOR AMARILLO


High for the year:  105° F on June 27th
Low for the year:  3° F on December 7th
Average High Temperature:  72.4° F (1.4° F above normal)
Average Low Temperature:  44.4° F (0.6° F above normal)
Average Annual Temperature:  58.4 F (1.0° F above normal)
Annual precipitation:  15.20 inches (5.16 inches below normal)
Annual snowfall:  34.1 inches - 9th Snowiest Year (16.3 inches above normal)
Days with temperature ≥ 100 degrees:  10 (Tied for 20th most in a year)
Tornadoes:  7 Total – 7 EF-0
 

Climate Graphs for 2013

Amarillo Dalhart Borger
Amarillo Climate 2012 Dalhart Climate 2012 Borger Climate 2012

Top 5 Regional Weather Events of 2013

Top 5 weather events



January
    Hi:  73° F, 23rd, 27th and 28th
    Low:  11° F, 13th
    Average:  38.6° F (1.6° F above normal)
    Precipitation:  0.76 inches (0.04 inches above normal)
    Snowfall:  1.9  inches (2.8 inches below normal)
    Records:  None


January was a near normal month for both temperatures and precipitation, but most of the precipitation fell in a single rain event early in the month.  Early January cold weather quickly gave way to unseasonably warm temperatures, with several days climbing into the upper 60s and low 70s by the end of the month.  Only one good snowfall impacted the area, bringing little more than an inch and a half to Amarillo.  The month's beneficial rain and snow led to slight improvements in the ongoing drought.  In the tropical Pacific Ocean, sea surface temperatures were near normal, signaling ENSO-Neutral conditions that would continue through the end of the year.

February
    Hi: 72° F, 6th and 17th
    Low: 15° F, 13th  
    Average: 39.8° (0.5° below normal)
    Precipitation: 2.53 inches (1.97 inches above normal)
    Snowfall: 25.6 inches (22.7 inches above normal)
    Records:   Tied the daily record precipitation of 0.50 inches on the 12th.
                     Set the daily record snowfall of 4.7 inches on the 12th.
                     Set the daily record precipitation of 1.48 inches on the 25th.
                     Set the daily record snowfall of 19.0 inches on the 25th.
                     3rd largest snowfall event at Amarillo on the 25th.
                     2nd largest snowfall for a calendar at Amarillo on the 25th.
                     Set the daily snowfall record for a single day in February on the 25th.
                     Set the highest all-time snow depth measurement at Amarillo on the 26th.
                     This was the 4th wettest February on record.
                     This was the 2nd snowiest February on record.

February was a snowy month for Amarillo and the Panhandles.  A strong winter storm brought  heavy snow to much of the Panhandles from late on the 11th through the afternoon of the 12th.  At Amarillo, thundersnow and 4.7" of snow were measured.  A few minor snowfalls brought an additional 1.8" to the city, before a historic blizzard crippled the Panhandles on the 25th.  Amarillo received 19.0" on the 25th, making it the 2nd
greatest snowfall in a calendar day for the city.  The 19.1" for the event made it the 3rd greatest snowfall event for Amarillo, and the 17" snow depth measurement at 6 a.m. on the 26th was an all-time record for Amarillo.  Coupled with wind gusts up to 75 mph, the blinding snow closed nearly every road and business across the area.


March
    Hi:  85° F, 15th
    Low:  21° F, 25th
    Average:  50.6° F (2.7° F above normal)
    Precipitation:  0.15 inches (1.24 inches below normal)
    Snowfall:  0.1 inches (2.8 inches below normal)
    Records:  Set the record high temperature of 85
° F on the 15th.            

 

March was much quieter than the previous month, resuming the drier and warmer than normal pattern recent years have brought to the Panhandles.  Severe thunderstorms set up just east of Amarillo on the afternoon of the 8th, bringing the only appreciable rainfall to the area for the month.  Scattered severe thunderstorms spread east on the afternoon of the 17th and brought 60 mph wind gusts and wind damage to Amarillo as they passed through.



April
    Hi:  97° F, 30th
    Low:  20° F, 11th and 24th
    Average:  54.9° F (1.4° F below normal)
    Precipitation:  0.05 inches (1.35 inches below normal)
    Snowfall:  Trace (0.7 inches below normal)
    Records:   Tied the record high temperature of 89° F on the 8th.
                     Tied the record low temperature of 20° F on the 11th.
                     Set the record low temperature of 26° F on the 19th.
                     Set the record cold high temperature of 35° F on the 23rd.
                     Set the record low temperature of 25° F on the 23rd.
                     Set the record low temperature of 20° F on the 24th.
                     Tied the record high temperature of 94° F on the 29th.
                     Set the record high temperature of 97° F on the 30th.
                     Set the record warm low temperature of 62° F on the 30th.
                     This tied for the 7th driest April on record.

April was a month of temperature extremes, with several strong cold fronts bringing sub-freezing temperatures every few nights.  Record lows were set 4 times in Amarillo, and even one record cold high temperature record was set.  April had its warm days too, reaching into the 80s and 90s between cold fronts.  Amarillo’s high of 97 on the 30th was the 4th earliest occurrence of temperatures that warm since 1892.  With lingering winter cold affecting the Panhandles, spring rains were delayed and stayed well east and south of the Panhandles entirely.  This also meant no widespread severe weather for the Panhandles this month.  The cool and dry weather spelled disaster for the area’s winter wheat crop, and drought rapidly worsened across the Panhandles.
 



 May
    Hi:  100° F, 17th
    Low:  27° F, 3rd
    Average:  68.3° F (2.7° F above normal)
    Precipitation:  2.80 inches (0.51 inches above normal)
    Snowfall:  Trace (0.2 inches below normal)
    Tornadoes:  4 total - 4 rated EF-0
    Records:  Tied the daily record snowfall of a trace on the 1st.
                    Set the record low temperature of 28
° F on the 2nd.
                    Tied the record high temperature of 100
° F on the 17th.
                    Tied the record warm low temperature of 70
° F on the 27th.
                    Tied the daily record snowfall* of a trace on the 28th. (*Hail)
            
Spring rains finally made an appearance during May, delivering an extra half inch of rain above normal to Amarillo.  Amarillo nearly set its latest freeze record, when winter gave one last gasp and brought a late season hard freeze on the 2nd and 3rd.   This was the 7th latest spring freeze on record for the city and was only 4 days earlier than the latest on record.  The already struggling winter wheat in the Panhandles took another blow from this late freeze.  The chill quickly gave way to hot weather, and the first 100 degree day for the year came on the 17th.  Severe weather season returned with the warmer, wetter weather.  Though scattered storms brought the occasional high wind gust or hail to Amarillo during the month, the most notable episode of severe weather occurred on the 28th and 29th.  High surface winds and gusts from afternoon thunderstorms downed trees, power lines, and signs across the city on the 28th.  Two EF-0 tornadoes were reported in Beaver County.  After sunset, a lone thunderstorm produced large hail and two EF-0 tornadoes in Deaf Smith County as it moved north then east.  Though no tornado impacted Amarillo, the storm produced a funnel cloud just west of the city at 11:30 pm on the 28th and hailstones to the size of baseballs through town near midnight.  In total the hailstorm caused an estimated 500 million dollars of damage in Amarillo and the surrounding area, damaging cars, homes, businesses, and crops along its path.  Drought worsened across the area.



June
    Hi:  105° F, 27th
    Low:  51° F, 2nd
    Average:  77.8° F (3.4° F above normal)
    Precipitation:  2.80 inches (0.36 inches below normal)
    Snowfall:  0.0 inches
    Records:  Set the record warm low temperature of 70
° F on the 4th.

June was a warmer and much wetter month for the Panhandles in general.  June 27th was Amarillo’s hottest day of the year, with a high temperature of 105 degrees.  Rainfall was a little shy of normal, but it was measured on 11 days during the month.  Widespread summer thunderstorms across the Panhandles throughout the month were enough to ease drought by a category or two by month’s end and get summer crops off to a good start.  On the evening of the 7th, 3 to 4 inches of rain fell in western Cimarron County, causing the Cimarron River near Kenton to flood and reach 20.5 feet, the 5th highest crest for that site.  Though not as damaging as the May hailstorm, hail to the size of ping pong balls fell across the south side of Amarillo on June 20th.  Other severe storms brought high winds and hail to the area throughout the month.



July
    Hi:  100° F, 13th
    Low:  55° F, 2nd
    Average:  77.9° F (0.4° F below normal)
    Precipitation:  1.86 inches (0.98 inches below normal)
    Snowfall:  0.0 inches
    Records:  Set the record low temperature of 55
° F on the 2nd.
                    Set the record cold high temperature of 75
° F on the 15th.
                    Tied the record cold high temperature of 72
° F on the 16th.
                    Set the record low temperature of 58
° F on the 16th.

Unlike the last two years, July was a cool month for the Panhandles.  Amarillo only had one day which hit 100 degrees, and finished the month nearly a half degree below normal.  Two record cold high temperatures and two record low temperatures were set during July.  Showers and thunderstorms were more tropical in nature during July, producing very heavy rainfall in short periods of time.  A rare retrograding upper-level low pressure system brought the month’s best rainfall on the 15th through 17th.  Flooding was reported near areas including Groom, Dumas, and Spearman after some of the heavier storms.  Though the best rainfall missed Amarillo this month, southern and eastern parts of the Panhandles saw above normal rainfall from several rounds of afternoon thunderstorms.  These showers and thunderstorms were beneficial heavy rain events with barely any severe weather reported around the Panhandles.  The timely summer rainfall helped to keep temperatures cool and give area farmers a chance to stop irrigating at times.  Drought conditions lessened across the Panhandles.


August
    Hi:  104° F, 6th
    Low:  57° F, 10th
    Average:  79.2° F (2.4° F above normal)
    Precipitation:  1.42 inches (1.49 inches below normal)
    Snowfall:  0.0 inches
    Tornadoes:  3 total - 3 rated EF-0

    Records:  Set the record warm low temperature of 75
° F on the 3rd.
                    Tied the record high of 104
° F on the 6th.

August was once again a typical summer month, with warm temperatures in the 90s and low 100s most days and scattered beneficial rains. Amarillo saw five days hit the 100 degree mark. Amarillo ended the month 1.5 inches below normal rainfall, but most of the Panhandles were much closer to or even above normal for the month. Severe weather was more common, but Amarillo only experienced a few severe wind gusts during the month. Heavy rain in northeast New Mexico caused near-record flooding along the Cimarron River near Kenton again; this time cresting at 21.47 feet on the 4th for the 3rd highest crest at that site. Three EF-0 tornadoes were reported in August: one near Turpin, OK on the 7th; one east of Stratford, TX on the 14th; and another west of Pringle, TX on the 14th. Also on the 14th, heavy rain led to street flooding in Amarillo and a near-record crest along the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River near Wayside. Flood waters reached 12.9 feet at the site, making it the 2nd highest crest just behind the record of 13.0 feet from 1968.


September
    Hi:  96° F, 6th and 7th
    Low:  44° F, 29th and 30th
    Average:  73.7° (4.2° F above normal)
    Precipitation:  1.83 inches (0.09 inches below normal)
    Snowfall:  0.0 inches
    Records:  None

Heavy rain was once again a welcome fixture of the month. Many parts of the Panhandles received between 2 and5 inches of rain during the month, giving a late growing season boost to summer crops and eroding drought further across the area. In the eastern Texas Panhandle, September’s rains were enough to remove drought entirely. Flash flooding stranded cars around Amarillo on the 17th, as the remnants of Tropical Storm Manuel from the eastern Pacific brought 1 to 2 inches of rain in less than an hour. This heavy rain caused minor flooding along the Canadian River north of Amarillo, where flood waters reached 7.3 feet. Thunderstorms on the 27th brought heavy rains to many parts of the Panhandles, flooding Highway 60 between White Deer and Panhandle and pouring 1 to 4 inches on the eastern Panhandles. One severe thunderstorm brought hail to western Amarillo on the 16th, and the only tornado during the month was a brief EF0 west of Dumas.


October
    Hi:  91° F, 3rd
    Low:  27° F, 19th
    Average:  58.3° (at normal)
    Precipitation:  0.17 inches (1.49 inches below normal)
    Snowfall:  0.0 inches (0.2 inches below normal)
    Records:  Tied the record low temperature of 28° F on the 18th.

Generally quiet and dry weather conditions prevailed through most of the month areawide, but severe weather impacted the northern Panhandles on the 10th and 28th.  A 71-mph wind gust was measured at Goodwell, OK on the 10th, and heavy rain and localized flooding also accompanied severe storms on the 28th in Beaver County, OK where Gate received nearly 4.50 inches of rain for the month.  The 28th also marked the last day of the year that severe weather occurred in the Panhandles.  The first fall freeze occurred right on schedule across most of the Panhandles on either the 17th or 18th, with Amarillo's first freeze coming on the 18th.



November
    Hi:  73° F, 17th 
    Low:  20° F, 22nd
    Average:  45.0° F (1.3° F below normal)
    Precipitation:  0.51 inches (0.29 inches below normal)
    Snowfall:  4.3 inches (1.8 inches above normal)
    Records:  Set the daily record snowfall of 1.1 inches on the 23rd. 

Despite a handful of days with mild temperatures, November was a colder and wetter than normal month across most of the Panhandles as a series of arctic fronts swept across the area.  Most of the precipitation during the month fell as rain, but a powerful upper-level storm system brought prolonged freezing temperatures and a widespread mixture of snow, sleet, and freezing rain to the Panhandles between the 22nd and 24th.  Freezing rain and freezing drizzle were the primary precipitation types on the 22nd, which contributed to multiple vehicle accidents.  Snow quickly began during the afternoon of the 23rd and lasted through the 24th.  Every location in the Panhandles received snow, but amounts ranged from 1 inch in Beaver, OK to 10 inches near Wellington and Hedley, TX.  In addition to the wintry precipitation, temperatures remained below freezing for almost 5 consecutive days in most places, including nearly 118 consecutive hours at Amarillo.



December
    Hi:  72° F, 3rd and 19th
    Low:  3° F, 7th
    Average:  35.6° F (1.3° F below normal)
    Precipitation:  0.32 inches (0.39 inches below normal)
    Snowfall:  2.2 inches

    Records:  Set the record cold high temperature of 20
° F on the 5th.
                    Tied the record low temperature of 3
° F on the 7th.
                   
Set the record high temperature of 72° F on the 19th.

After thawing out in late November and early December, an even stronger arctic cold front blasted across the area on the 4th, sending temperatures well below freezing again for nearly 4 consecutive days this time.  Fortunately, all of the area was spared of anything more than light snow accumulations and a very light glaze of ice from freezing rain.  A stronger but wetter storm system brought freezing rain and heavy snows to the Panhandle late on the 20th and into the 21st.  Very little snow fell across the southeastern Texas Panhandle, but a swath of 6 to 12 inches of snow occurred across the northwestern Texas Panhandle into the eastern Oklahoma Panhandle.  The highest snowfall amount of 11.5 inches occurred in Dumas, TX, and this heavy snow led to many motorists being stranded on Highway 287 between Dumas and Amarillo.


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